Friday, November 28, 2014

Discussions in Paris were difficult, but steps have been taken towards the conclusion of the final negotiation, Government Vice-President and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said in statements after his meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras yesterday (27.11). He was referring to negotiations with the troika in Paris in preparation of a Eurogroup summit on December 8.

Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis said yesterday (27.11) that there was "significant progress" in negotiations with the troika in Paris in preparation of a Eurogroup summit on December 8. During a speech on the 2015 budget in Parliament’s Economics Commission, the minister said that "in a negotiation you cannot exactly say where you are and where the others stand, you don’t want to show your strategy.

The only thing I can say is that we are involved in a difficult negotiation. The fact that we sat down until four-and-a-half in the morning in Paris is evidence of this."

Hardouvelis reassured that the country would not roll back to uncertainty. He said that the government is working hard in negotiations with lenders to avoid this uncertainty. There is significant progress in negotiations, there is agreement on a series of issues and "we continue negotiations with fully documented arguments and I believe we will achieve a future will fewer burdens and more prospects for everyone."

In related news, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said that fiscal targets set by the Greek government were achieved for the third consecutive year with an additional significant primary surplus for the third time, while the country entered a period of positive economic growth, said today during a debate in a Parliament committee on the 2015 budget. Referring to the “tough and complex” negotiations with the country’s creditors, Staikouras noted that “we have to approach the country’s basic political issues, and of course the 2015 budget issue, with realism, a spirit of unity and national cohesion, away from dangerous acrobatics.”

A draft bill on the "Management, control and implementation of development interventions for the period 2014-2020" will be on consultation until December 2. It will then be tabled in Parliament for approval.

The Ministry of Development and Competitiveness has announced that the bill was the framework for the operation of the system for development interventions in the period 2014-2020 through European Structural and Investment Funds. The ministry noted that EU funds in the 2014-2020 period earmarked for Greece were particularly crucial, as they were largely the only available funds offering incentives for development investments, at least in the medium-term.

The Greek navy towed a ship to safety yesterday (28.11) from international waters into Ierapetra harbor, on Crete island, with 584 undocumented immigrants aboard; the Kiribati-flagged freighter Baris had lost power in the Mediterranean Sea.

The migrants, 385 men, 99 women and 100 children, were exhausted, terrified, but finally safe. Ierapetra local authorities and volunteer groups prepared an indoor basketball stadium to provide temporary shelter for them, and were collecting food, blankets, mattresses and toiletries. During the rescue operation, a 16-member medical team examined the immigrants’ health; a pregnant woman was airlifted by helicopter to an island hospital. The coast guard said initial indications suggested passengers included Syrians and Afghans heading for Italy.
  • Avramopoulos on Migration
EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos emphasised that “we are confronted with the highest migratory pressure at our external borders since the Balkan crisis during the European Parliament’s   plenary debate on migration yesterday (11.27).” He added that this crisis requires an integrated approach, including foreign and security policies and highlighted the need for solidarity and responsibility among the EU member states for “building a common European migration and asylum system, with common standards and rights for migrants.”

See also: Rescue Operation of Baris [video]

The Greek Exports Forum is taking place in Athens today, and hosts a conference, while it offers three parallel sessions: educational seminars, B2B consultation meetings between exporters, economic & Commercial Affairs executives, as well as meetings with bilateral Chambers. The event is being held under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Greek Exports Awards 2014 is the crowning moment of the forum. The Awards’ main objective is to highlight and reward businesses that contribute to the boosting of productivity, competitiveness and employment in our country, serving as role models for other companies. The organizers aim at establishing the Exports Awards on a national and international level, thus assisting the Greek exporting companies in their effort to penetrate new foreign markets.

Watch the conference on Live Streaming